In a bid to deepen its commitment to customer safety and increased focus on the growing Nigerian market, Asahi Brands Limited, the exclusive tyre distributor for Bridgestone and Firestone, has inaugurated its sixth retail outlet in Lagos promising to ramp up technical education for local service centres.
On hand to inaugurate the Asahi Tyre Zones on Monday were Victor Eburajolo, group deputy managing director of Kewal Ram Chanrai Group; Stefano Sanchini, director Sales Middle East and Africa and Anil Sahgal, Director Auto Division Afriventures as well as dealers and distributors.
“Over the past 2-3 turbulent years we have been making steady inroads into the Nigerian market as this is a pivotal market for our growth in the African sub-continent. Our product range fits well with the Nigerian consumer requirements and with the support of our key distribution and retail partners in Nigeria, we have been able to penetrate most of the key institutional and replacement tyre market segments,” said Sanchini.
Sanchini further said, “Now with the reviving economy in Nigeria, we believe it is the perfect time to step up our customer focus in this market with the established branded retail chain Asahi Tyre Zones.”
The Asahi Tyre Zone has been opened in association with Bridgestone Middle East (BSME). Bridgestone is a leading tyre manufacturer in world.
In a chat with journalists shortly after the inauguration ceremony, Sanchini said the objective of opening these service centres is to improve safety on Nigerian roads by ensuring that only qualified personnel maintain car tryes and providing training for local centres.
“Nigerians spend millions in buying a vehicle but it is odd that they can just give a roadside ‘vulchaniser’ to work on their tryes, who may not be adequately trained and may not use the right tools. Our lives and those of our families are involved, this is why we should pay attention to who works on our car tyres,” said Eburajolo.
Asahi Brands Limited said more of these outlets would be opened and training would be increased to improve local competence. “These outlets are designed to provide customers with an enhanced retail experience and a better feel for the brand and passenger car radials on display,” the company said in a release.
On his part, Anil Sahgal, director Auto Division, Afriventures said, “The growing passenger vehicle segment of Lagos, along with entire Nigeria, has a lot of potential for us. The age old partnership with Bridgestone has enabled us to secure a strong customer acknowledgement for our products.
“We aim to have a larger mind space with the customers in the 36,000 a month premium tyre market in Nigeria. The Asahi Tyre Zones will help us increase visibility for the Bridgestone and Firestone brands, and will endear us further for the consumers, as they experience our world-class products and services.”
Asahi Brands Limited said Nigeria has above 90% radialisation levels in the passenger vehicle segment so with its Bridgestone and Firestone car radials, which has already received high acceptance from Nigerian customers, it is keen to further establish the dual brand at the top tier of the car radials market.
“The passenger car tyres portfolio is capable of servicing nearly 90% of the Nigerian car tyre market, which is currently, one of the largest in the African continent,” said the company.
The Asahi Tyre Zones, follow a modern up-market retail format for selling tyres — ensuring ample visual appeal, comfort and convenience to customers, and providing an opportunity to learn about the product’s applications and performance before making the final purchase. They, thus, bridge the gap between tyres being a low involvement product category and the need for expert guidance, to enable customers to buy the right tyres, suited to their vehicle, driving style and usage.